DUBAI // More than 300 volunteers gave up their Saturday afternoon to clean up a beach and raise environmental awareness.
At a protected marine reserve on Dubai's border with Abu Dhabi, volunteers from Volkswagen, Siemens and Rotana Hotels picked up about 1.5 tonnes of litter that had washed up on the beach from the Arabian Gulf, and cleared lagoons polluted by algae.
Thirty students from Al Salam Girls High School, an Emirati public school, also donned plastic gloves and filled large rubbish bags.
Kay Zwingenberger, chief executive of Siemens UAE, said this was the third phase of an environmental campaign set up by the three corporations.
"We do it to increase environmental awareness and get people motivated to do something for the environment. The situation we have here combining pleasure and the clean up is a nice thing," Mr Zwingenberger said. "It's all coming in from the sea. We constantly have clean ups here because there's more and more rubbish."
Sinta Syaried, a groups coordinator at Towers Rotana, volunteered because it was a fun day out.
"You get to come to the beach, do something good and enjoy the surroundings," she said.
The beach is a protected area where turtles are known to lay eggs. After 6pm, no one was allowed on it for fear of disturbing the reptiles.
Thomas Milz, managing director of Volkswagen Middle East, said it was part of his company's environmental initiative.
"It is part of the company's Volkswagen Think Blue initiative where everybody can contribute something small to help protect the environment. And we are also helping the turtles here," he said.
The beach is home to a wide variety of marine and land-based wildlife.